Wakeboarding is an all-American pastime and a favorite sport of water lovers across the nation. If you are new to the sport, it is important to educate yourself on the basics of wakeboarding before heading out on the water. Having the right skills and essential wakeboarding gear is necessary to have a successful run. Keep in mind that your first attempt at wakeboarding may be a little hairy; however, with continued practice, you can enjoy one of the most thrilling sports the water has to offer. Here are a few tips for those new to the wakeboarding culture:
1. Always wear the proper safety equipment.
Beginners and experts alike should always wear a personal flotation device at all times while wakeboarding. Make sure that the device covers the back, abdomen and chest. If possible, make sure that your floatation device has a whistle attached.
2. Put the right foot forward.
Before you set out onto the water, experiment with your wakeboard on dry land. Decide which foot is most comfortable for you to lead with. For most people, this foot will be the one that you instinctively put forward when regaining your balance or kicking a ball. Known as regular footed or goofy, your leading foot will most likely be the same as it is in sports such as surfing, skateboarding or snowboarding.
3. Make sure that you use a spotter.
Designate a passenger on the boat to keep track of the wake boarder's whereabouts at all times. The spotter will also keep an eye out for approaching boats and other possible hazards in the area.
4. Use a shorter rope to begin with.
A shorter rope will help beginners get out of the water more easily. While a standard rope length is anywhere between 70 and 75 feet, a beginner should use one that is between 30 and 50 feet. A wake board pylon can also help a beginner get up on their feet easier.
5. Remember to use the right boat speed.
If the driver of the boat is used to pulling water-skiers or tubers, they should be reminded that wakeboarders require less speed when being pulled. The maximum speed recommended for wakeboarders is anywhere between 14-19 miles per hour.
6. Understand the universal hand signals.
Universal hand signals are used to communicate with the driver of the boat. Signals, including speed up, slow down, turn, stop, I'm okay and go back to the dock, are critical to know when wakeboarding.
7. Never ride close to water hazards.
Never ride near docks, other boats, pilings or swimmers as they can be potential hazards while wakeboarding. Make sure that you are completely aware of the area around you at all times and signal the driver of the boat is a problem presents itself.
8. Know how to fall.
At times, falling is inevitable. Make sure that you are careful to fall backward or off to the side. Falling forward may cause you to come in contact with the wakeboard. Also, after falling, stick your board out of the water as a signal to other boats of your whereabouts.
Trying a new sport can be frustrating and a bit overwhelming. Understanding the basics of wakeboarding will allow you to feel more comfortable on the water, stay safe and enjoy the fun that wakeboarding has to offer.
Wakeboarding advice is courtesy of Wake Essentials